Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Romantic Road

There is a short two minute film on YouTube which gives a good idea of what to expect in the villages, towns and cities along the Romantic Road in Bavaria (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNA9hD-joEg&feature=youtube_gdata). Our eBook from Amazon or Smashwords.com will also help with the roads and cycle tracks in between the settlements if you decide to explore this historic patch of countryside.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

A hotel near Mont Ventoux

I have noticed the authors of other blogs receive gear and other goodies to test. This doesn't happen to us, but we do get the occasional eMail giving us info about bike hire or places to stay. This hotel is in Provence and we have walked nearby at Christmas. We could have cycled on most days as well, though whether our aged pins would get us up Mont Ventoux is debatable. The hotel looks like it is worth checking out.

LES GERANIUMS
Hôtel *** Restaurant
Place de La Croix
84330 Le Barroux
TEL 04 90 62 41 08 FAX 04 90 62 56 48
RCS CARPENTRAS B 448 394 577
les.geraniums@wanadoo.fr
www.hotel-lesgeraniums.com

Sunday, November 17, 2013

An excursion from Kleve

We have written about knooppunts, a grid based navigation system for cyclists in the Netherlands, in the past. We mentioned as well that some of the German communities on the Dutch borders have invested in this type of waymarking. These include Emmerich and Kleve both of which are on the Lower Rhine. Kleve is well known to the British because of its connections to Anne of Cleves, one of Henry VIII's wives. However the town has connections to another European blue blooded family: Orange Nassau the Dutch royal family.
The tourist office in Kleve has laid out the 53km circular Oranierroute starting in the Tiergartenstraße  following: knoopunts 26 - 4 - 3 - 88 - 86 - 80 - 81 - 80 - 85 - 10 - 25 - 32 - 31 - 6 - 30 - 96 - 81 - 94 - 5 - 26. If you follow this tour you can visit the Huis Bergh chateau, one of the biggest  in the the Netherlands, climb to vantage point to look across to Kleve, take a barefoot walk, have a short ferry trip to Millingen aan de Rijn before returning to Kleve. There is no shortage of cafes along the route. There is a website: www.kleve-tourismus.de where you can download a flyer in German about the route. A word of warning though the map is rather indistinct.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bike Hire in Cherbourg, France

The area around Cherbourg is an excellent place to cycle. On a recent trip through the city we found a bicycle hire company: Location de velos, Port Chantereyne, Cherbourg, Tel: +33 (0)2 33 03 76 75. 2013 prices for touring-city bikes were:
  • Half day €9
  • Day €15
  • Two days €25
  • Three days €32
  • Four days €39
  • Five days €46
  • One week €56

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Safer tram lines?

One of the more exciting aspects of urban cycling in continental Europe are tram lines. Judith's knee still bears the scars she received when she fell off her bike, after the front wheel jammed in a tram line, some years ago. Tram lines are cunningly designed to take and hold a bicycle wheel. Whether it is front or back you will suddenly find sideways motion is impossible and the bike stops moving, all at once, with embarrassing results. They also offer a surprising wide flat area of metal which is slippery in wet weather and can lead to breakaway of the back end of the bicycle. This is interesting, but to be avoided.
VBZ, the Zurich traffic authority has started a pilot project to see if  tramlines can be made safer. It has filled a short stretch of tramline with rubber. The tram compresses this, but cyclists can ride over the filled section without the unpleasant effects mentioned above. The first results of this test phase are due in spring 2014. For more information in German see: www.stadt-zuerich.ch/masterplanvelo.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

An idea for cycle clubs

The ADFC section in Ottersweier, a village south of Karlsruhe in the Rhine Valley, organises free bike parking for the annual Dorfbachfest, a typical jolly German weekend fest with grilled sausages, beer and umpah bands. The village council supplies a car park and galvanised wire builders' fencing. The ADFC supplies volunteers to guard the bike park, organises a ticketing system and has an information stand. The chairman of the ADFC group and the organiser of this action wrote that cyclists are overjoyed to find secure parking and it is a good way to acquire new members.
I realise that do's with umpah bands and beer are few and far between in Britain, but there will be large numbers of cyclists to watch le Tour next year in Yorkshire and there will be more mass cycling events in London, so CTC local groups could help themselves and the cycling community by laying on bike parking at various events.
5 January 2014: I suppose it could even be seen as one of the ideas supported by David Cameron in the Big Society project.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

e-Bike Holidays in Switzerland

Over the years we have cycled a lot in Switzerland. When we talk about these trips with friends and acquaintances both cost and the mountains are mentioned. "Too expensive and we can't climb Alpine passes!" However I have recently picked up a Swiss national tourist office brochure with details of an eight or nine day trip across Switzerland from Lake Geneva via Interlaken and the Jungfrau region to Heidiland and the River Rhine through the mountains but over them. In 2013 the cost was about £1000 including e-Bike hire, luggage transfer and, bed and breakfast stopping in normal hotels. A similar trip stopping in youth hostels would have set you back about £825.  The e-bike flattens out the passes. Check out the trips in 2014 on http://www.swisstrails.ch/.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bicycle Parking in Bensheim

Bensheim is a small town (about 40 000 inhabitants) in our county lying in the Rhine Valley between Heidelberg and Frankfurt am Main. The railway station has excellent bike parking facilities including bike boxes and bike racks.  There appear to be difficulties in the main shopping street, but there are moves by shops and stores to install more bike racks. In addition the council has set up a working party to investigate a bike parking garage. This might well use the model in Strasbourg. This would not be free of charge. I have my doubts about how prepared German cyclists are, to pay for parking, but we will keep our eye on matters and report. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cyclist friendly accommodation in the Netherlands

We are beavering away trying to get our updated, revamped Rhine 2 Cyclists' guide from Basel to Hook of Holland finished. For various reasons it is unlikely that we will be able to cycle from the German-Dutch border by Emmerich to Hook of Holland to check the route this year, unless global warming means that November is very warm and lack of global warming means the month is gale free. What we have decided to do is to prepare the book by working out a route using the knooppunt system. Dutch cycling facilities are so good that we don't need to go there to check the route.
We still need accommodation lists and were pleased to find the Fietsers Welkom! website published by Fietsplatform (Dutch cycling platform). This is an  “umbrella-organisation” (public-private partnership, foundation)bringing together the Dutch tourist’ union ‘ANWB’, the Dutch cyclist’ union ‘Fietsersbond’, the Union for cycle-touring clubs ‘NTFU’ and the national organisation for the cycling industry in the Netherlands ‘RAI’. With the support of the national and regional authorities Fietsplatform tries to improve the facilities for recreational cycling/ cycle tourism in the Netherlands.
The Fietsers Welkom! website is very similar to the German Bett und Bike website published by the ADFC and the Luxembourg bed + bike website published by the LVI. Landlords agree to the following conditions:
  • Open from May / September, at least five days a week from 11:00.
  • Campsites set aside an area for cycle tourists.
  • Hotels, B&Bs and campsites accept guests for one night.
  • The hotels, B&Bs offer a locked bicycle garage.
  • Simple tools and puncture repair outfits are available, as is obviously, a first aid kit.
  • Cyclists can refill their water bottle for free.
  • Bike maps are available for inspection and/or on sale.
  • Batteries of electric bikes can be recharged for free.
  • Wet clothing is no problem. The hotels,  etc. offer a dryer or drying rack.
On first inspection the Fietsers Welkom! website is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It offers a searchable map of the Netherlands with accommodation, knooppunt and the Dutch long distance cycle routes. It is in Dutch, but it is obvious how you use it, just go to 'Kaart'.
I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the search engine could do with tightening up. It is possible to search an area by entering its name, but if the name of the place you are looking for, comes in the title of the accommodation or in the address, one is overwhelmed by a flood of several hundred addresses, most of which are false. Try looking for "Hoek van Holland", for example. One finds 860 addresses. Cut the search item back to "Hoek" and you still find 60 addresses. If I remember rightly "hoek" means "corner" in Dutch. In such cases you will need to look on the map and click on the hotel or campsite symbols. You can zoom in and out of the map. It would be a good if there was a scale on the map to estimate distances.
If you are touring in the Netherlands you can download an App from iTunes for €2.69 both for navigation and finding accommodation. I haven't tested this because we don't have an iPhone. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hiring e-bikes

We have a problem at present. We want to finish our new e-book version of "Rhine 2"covering the Rhine from Basel to Rotterdam. Our printed version is now both out of date and print, but does still attract orders via older versions of the website (www.bergstrassebikebooks.com) which can be found on mirror sites in the Internet. We do have the upstream version "Following the Rhine gently upstream Rotterdam to Basel, a Cycle Tourist’s Guide" available from Smashwords and Amazon, which will be updated this winter.
The problem is that we need to cycle about 280km across the Netherlands from the German border to the Hook of Holland. We cannot do this until the middle of November.  In the Netherlands November means gales from the west, the way we want to go. To be sensible, we need an e-bike each. We can hire them, but of course when we are done we will need to return the bikes. This means a train journey with changes. Do the operators on the Dutch railways offer accompanied transport of e-bikes? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could hire a bike in Arnhem or Nijmegen and drop it off in Rotterdam? It is possible to hire bikes in cities in Switzerland and drop them off elsewhere in Switzerland. We have two possible cures:

  • We could persuade Batavus or Gazelle to lend us a bike each for the publicity.
  • We could buy a couple of Dutch e-bikes from the Gazelle Outlet Shop. These bikes in the Netherlands are cheaper than in Germany. The problem then is our local bike shop owner would probably scrag us and rightly so.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Czech cycleways

We went to a lecture last year at our local bike shop given by an employee who had cycled alone from Viernheim to Istanbul and returned via a different route with his girl friend. She described the return journey though the Czech Republic and mentioned the difficulty they had cycling on the rough paths there. We were surprised to hear this, but our experience is similar, although we only walked along a few km of Czech cycle route a few weeks ago. The tracks were bumpy, covered with layer of 1" sandstone pebbles, more suitable for the robust bikes the continental Europeans call trekking bikes than the thin tyred Audax road bikes many Brits and North Americans use for touring. Signposting was very good.
We did however find a new EU sponsored cycle- and footpath running from Doubrava, Czech Republic to Bad Elster west of the Bily Halstrov/Weiße Elster river as part of the Elster Cycleway from As (Czech Republic) to Halle an der Saale (Germany) which had a smooth high class tarmac surface. Maybe things are looking up.
Czech cycle route signposting on a minor road

Friday, October 11, 2013

City Hire Bikes in Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen

In April of next year the cities in the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region, i.e. Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim will set up a joint bike hire system à la Barclay Bikes in London or the velib system in Paris. The VRN, the regional transport authority has been authorised to issue a call for tenders. It is planned to incorporate the new bike system in the present combined payment system for public transport tickets and car sharing.
This move has perhaps initiated one major change: From 1 January next year cyclists will be able to buy a €1.80 bicycle ticket allowing them to take bicycles on local and regional trains before 09:00 on weekdays. Up to now one needed to buy an annual season ticket to travel with a non-folding bicycle between Mondays and Fridays in the morning rush hour which ruled out occasional transport on trains.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Le Tour - a book review

I was  checking what is available on the Smashwords e-book website on cycle touring in Europe, last night and discovered that  Selwyn Parker's "Chasing the Chimney Sweep" can be bought there.  "Chasing the Chimney Sweep" is an account of four friends who followed the route of the first Tour de France for a month during one summer about a decade ago. The book was originally published as a paperback by Penguin in Australia or New Zealand. Friends who visited NZ, brought back a copy and lent it to us. It is an excellent description of a long cycle tour through the French countryside, including what can go wrong. The history of the early Tour de France is recounted in fascinating detail. Those early cyclists make the rest of us look like milksops and the bikes were definitely instruments of torture.

However the book should come with a health warning. The author has strong opinions about various matters and some of these almost caused us to throw the book across the room in disgust. (We too have strong opinions!)

  • He thinks, for example, that using panniers is "uncool" for stylistic reasons and he and his partner cycled with heavy rucksacks. Unfortunately they happened to choose the hottest summer since records began and so cycling wearing a rucksack was very uncomfortable. They needed to send some stuff back to the Antipodes by post. The other couple camped and used panniers. They appear to have fewer problems. 
  • He then moans about the cost of using the French Postal Service.
  • Unfortunately he doesn't agree with the idea of "When in Rome…". He dislikes French coffee, because he likes to drink a very weak milky coffee at breakfast and the French hotels don't offer exactly what he wants.

However we recommend the book highly with some reservations about rucksacks and coffee.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Everything runs like it's just been oiled.

The city of Mannheim, Germany offers free bike checks in the summer at various events and it is an excellent way of showing folk who don't cycle much how make their cycling easier, by pumping up tyres, oiling chains, adjusting gears and making sure brakes work. It's a very popular service. The queues can be very long. When I first saw this I was impressed, although the ADFC Bergstraße has organised a stand for years at the biannual closure to motorised traffic of the Bergstrasse between Heppenheim and Darmstadt. We have even helped on the stand. I was also impressed to realise that the CTC had organised a similar service at the Prudential RideLondon weekend. This is obviously something that meets a public need.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Safer ways to school on a bike

Cycling to school is a good way for children to improve their fitness, build self-confidence and gain experience in traffic. However until they have gained some experience it can be a risky business, Parents can cycle the routes with their children, but this is not always possible. The ADFC is the German cycling club interested in touring, cycling as a means of transport and cycle paths rather than the sporting aspects. The Heidelberg section of the club has offered training courses for School Cyclists for the last three years.  Twenty fourteen to seventeen year old youngsters in Heidelberg have recently completed a twenty-eight hour training course. The youngsters then lead small groups of younger children to school and act as pilots. They check the bikes before the trip; make sure the younger  pupils know how to switch their lights on; discuss the critical areas of the journey; say where it is necessary to check the traffic behind the group and how one can utilise cyclepaths to best advantage. Two kids from Mannheim joined the training group this year and it is planned to offer the course in Mannheim next year. It strikes us as an excellent idea.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Grocery Deliveries by Bike in Vienna

I was pleased to see that the Merkur supermarket on the Hoher Markt in Vienna offers deliveries by bicycle in the centre and inner suburbs of Vienna. The company uses a pedal-powered Bullit cargo bike. The original plan was to use an e-bike, but the lads doing the deliveries on the basic Bullit found it was up to the job without pedelec assistance.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

The best longer cycling routes in Germany and Austria? ADFC Quality Routes

The ADFC is, as regular readers of this blog know,  the German cycling club interested in touring and cycle paths rather than the sporting aspects. The Germans are, of course, great classifiers and the ADFC is no exception. It grades cycle routes into 3 classes using the following criteria. This service is not free, the trail organisations pay most of the costs of the assessments. The weighting for the overall rating is shown after each criterium in brackets.
  • Rideabilty: width, current barriers, bollards, steps, hazards (15%)
  • Surface: material, number and distance of sections where it is necessary to push the bicycle, transverse grooves, pot holes (15%)
     Surface is important....


    because this can be the result.
  • Signposting: type, signposts showing the wrong direction, missing lettering, illegible writing, signposting contrary to the Road Traffic Acts (15%)
    Information overload, but who cares?
  • Route: noise, smells, dust, detours, altitude, monotony (5%)
  • Density of motor vehicle traffic: car-free - heavy, dangerous crossings (20%)
  • Tourist infrastructure: accommodation structure, campsites, catering, Bed + Bike accommodation, tourist information office, information boards, bike parking, bicycle box, playgrounds, bad weather shelters, picnic areas, (15%) 
  • Access route to public transport: Frequency of bike carrying long-distance trains with bicycles, Frequency of bike carrying regional public transport with bicycles, bike buses (5%)
    Ferries can also be useful!
  • Marketing: Existing maps and information, website (10%)
In addition the route should have a clear name and/or be well known. This probably means that the “Black Pudding Route” would not be accepted whereas the “Gelsenkirchen Black Pudding Route” would be. On the other hand the Romantic Road would be allowed because the route name has been used since WWII. These rules does not always seem to be taken too seriously.
The nonappearance of routes like the Rhine, a particular favourite of ours does not mean that it cannot meet the standards required. There is probably another more mundane reason for this. The ADFC charges over €800 to check 50km of route, which is cheap in view of what the club delivers. The advice given in their reports can be used as way of improving the routes. The costs to have a longer route checked are quite prohibitive especially in these days of belt tightening by public authorities. The Rhine Cycle Route, for example is 1230km long.
The Five Star Routes
  • River Main (Germany) 600km from Bischofsgrün (Source of the White Main) E of Bayreuth or Creußen (Source of the Red Main) S of Bayreuth – Mainz, confluence with the Rhine).
  • Lake Neusiedler See (Austria, Hungary) SE of Vienna 121.5km, circular
The Four Star Routes
Germany
  • Albtäler 187km SE of Stuttgart on the Swabian Alp, circular
  • BahnRadweg Hessen (Railway Cycle Route Hesse) 245km on former railway lines in Middle Hesse ENE of Frankfurt am Main
  • Bischofstour (Bishop's Tour) Havelberg to Wittstock 108km NE of Berlin
  • DahmeRadweg Berlin S to the source of the River Dahme near Kolpen 123km
  • Deutsche Fußballroute NRW (German Football Route North Rhine Westphalia) 800km Aaachen to Münster
  • EmsRadweg (River Ems Cycle Route) 375km from Hövelhof to Emden
  • Fulda-Radweg (River Fulda Cycle Route) Gersfeld to Bad Karlshafen 260km
  • Ilmtal-Radweg (Ilm Valley Cycle Route) 125km, Allzunah am Rennsteig  to Großheringen/Kaatschen-Weichau
  • Kyll-Radweg (Kyll Cycle Route) 130km from Kronenburger See, Dahlem (Bhf.), Losheimer Graben to Trier
  • Lahntal Radweg (Lahn Valley Cycle Route) 244km Netphen (Source of River Lahn) – Lahnstein (Rhine confluence)
  • Märkische Schlössertour (Chateau in the Oder Valley Route) 180km Circular Route SE of Berlin
  • Oderbruchbahn Radweg (Oder Railway Route) 133km from Fürstenwalde through Müncheberg, Seelow to Wriezen, E of Berlin
  • Oder-Neiße-Radweg (Oder Neisse Cycle Route) 628km from Nová Ves near Jablonec (Czech Republic) to Ahlbeck
  • Oder Spree Tour 250km SE of Berlin
  • RegnitzRadweg (River Regnitz Cycleway) 85 Kilometer (Valley), 75 Kilometer (Canal) Nürnberg – Bamberg/Bischber
  • Rhönradweg (Rhön Cycle Route) From Bad Salzungen to Hammelburg, 180km
  • Radrouten Historische Stadtkerne - Route 2... (Cycleway through historic towns and cities) NE of Berlin
  • Ruhrtalradweg (Ruhr Valley Cycle Route) 230km, Winterberg – Duisburg (Confluence with the Rhine)
  • Saar-Radweg (Saar Valley Cycleway) 98 Kilometer, Sarreguemines (Frankreich) through Saarbrücken to Konz (Confluence with the Moselle)
  • Spreeradweg (River Spree Cyclepath) 410 Kilometer, Eibau – Berlin
  • Südschwarzwald-Radweg (Southern Black Forest Cycle Route) 240 Kilometer (+ 69 Kilometer variations) circular route. See this blog 2 March 2013.
  • Tour Brandenburg A cycle tour around the province of Brandenberg. 1111km, Circular Start, for example, in Potsdam, Berlin or Cottbus.
  • Tour de Fries (Friesland Tour) Circular tour from Wilhelmshafen 287km
  • Von Main zu Rhön (From the River Main to the Rhön) 263km Circular
Austria
  • Danube Cycle Route 629km Passau to Vienna
  • Drauradweg (Cycle route along River Drau) (Austria) 366km from Toblach/Dobaccio (Italy) to Marburg.
  • Murradweg (Cycle Route in the Mürr Valley) S of Salzburg to Croatia 457km
  • Tauernradweg (Tauern Cycle Route) The route follows the Salzach und Saalach Rivers from Krimml to Passau. 308km
  • Traisental-Radweg (Traisen Valley Cycle Route) Traismauer (Donau) to Mariazell. 111km
Three Star Routes
Germany
  • Alte Salzstraße (Old Salt Road) Lübeck to Luneburg 116km
  • D-Route 3 / Europaradweg R1 (D Route 3/European Cycle Route 1) 960km, Vreden – Küstrin-Kietz across Germany from W to E or E to W
  • Fürst-Pückler-Weg (Fürst-Pückler-Cycle Route) 500km, circular route SE of Berlin through the Lausitz
  • Grünroute (Green Route) 358km, Düren – Hasselt (Belgium)
  • Gurkenradweg (Gherkin Cycle Route) 260km through the Spreewald
  • Kohle-Wind & Wasser-Tour (Coal, Wind and Water Tour) 250km circular route SE of Berlin through the Lausitz
  • Die Niederlausitzer Bergbautour (Lower Lausitz Mining Tour) >500km circular around Cottbus
  • Radweg Berlin-Kopenhagen (The Berlin Copenhagen Cycle Route) 648km total, 260km in Denmark
  • Radrouten Historische Stadtkerne - Route 1... (Cycleway through historic towns and cities No. 1) N of Berlin
  • Romantic Road from Würzburg to Füssen
  • Saarland-Radweg (Saarland Cycleway) 362km, Circular route around Saarland
  • Seenland Route 184km in the Lausitz SE of Dresden
  • Der Uckermärkische Radrundweg (Uckermark Route) circular 260km ENE Berlin almost on the Polish border

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Where do I find a bike on a city bicycle hire system

Finding where there are bikes to be picked up on a city bike system with many stations can be difficult. Fortunately someone has written an iPhone App to help you. The good news is it is free. It shows where which stations have how many bikes and if you tell the system which are your nearest or most used stations the phone will automatically display the information when you get close to favourite stations. The app can be used perhaps but not worldwide but in over 80 cities in Europe, in the USA and Canada. Check out http://www.bicyclette-app.com/en/ for more information.

Cycling on the left

My own feelings are that cyclists prefer to cycle on the left. I am however wondering whether this is true, having seen the London Triathlon this afternoon when the whole cycling route was laid out so that the cycling was on the right. Was this a disadvantage for cyclists for the countries of the world where one cycles on the sensible side of the road?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bike Hire in Freiburg (Black Forest)



At the moment the only shops we can find are:



Radhaus GmbH 
Harry Bieker, Bea Galgoczy 
Münchhofstr. 4 
79106 Freiburg 
Tel. 0761-280832 
UStID DE 142111755 
Amtsgericht Freiburg HRB 4216
Opening Hours : 
Mo-Fr 9.00 to 13.30 und 15.00 to 18.30 
Sa 10.00 to 16.00


Freiburg Bikes
Fernando Schüber
Kandelblickstr. 10
79108 Freiburg
Tel: 07665-9471021
Fax:0761-2023427
e-mail: info@freiburgbikes.de

http://www.radhaus-freiburg.de/mietrad.htm















Blog post modified on 11. September 2013

Vienna as a cycling city

Earlier in the year we wrote: "We are hoping to spend some time in Vienna this summer and intend to hire bikes for a few days". We have just returned from Vienna and we must be honest: We failed to fulfil our intention of hiring a velocipede or two to make the odd trip out into the woods and fields around the city. The friends we met there are not cyclists and so we decided that we would shelve our cycling plans in the interests of harmony. However we made some enquiries and kept our eyes open.
The city has 1200km of cycleways, 30 000 bike park racks and over 100 City Bike pickup points. Obviously Vienna is not yet a cyclists' city like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, but it is well on its way. Without being unpatriotic it is farther down this road or cyclepath than London for example. However the city is not as flat as the two forerunners mentioned above.
There is an excellent cycle map available free of charge from the tourist office, which is much better than the general city plan also given out by this organisation. There is a navigation app for cyclists which can be downloaded from the city's cyclist website: www.fahrradwien.at (in German, of course). The website also offers a route planner, a list of events and hints for cycling in the city.
Public transport in the city is so good that I think if I l lived in Vienna I would be using this a good deal rather than cycling.
If you are visiting Vienna in the next few weeks, it is worth nipping into the MAK to see an exhibition of classic bicycles called "Tour du Monde". You need to be quick though it closes on 6 October 2013.
Neil discussing cycle routes in the city centre with two touring cyclists.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bike transport by bus in Germany

As we have written before the German Government recently liberalised the long distance bus market and there has been an almost textbook increase in the number of services. The ADAC, the German motor club, and Deutsche Post are offering a joint service from 1 October onwards. The first route will be from Munich to Cologne, via Stuttgart and Mannheim, or Nuremberg and Frankfurt and Bonn. Tickets for the whole route from Munich to Cologne cost from €28. The free luggage allowance is a piece of hand luggage and a hold bag. Extra luggage including bicycles cost €10 per item. The buses take longer than the train, are cheaper and offer free WLAN.

Future services (from 1 November ) are
  • Bremen - Hamburg - Berlin
  • Cologne - Dortmund - Hannover - Berlin 
  • Berlin - Dresden - Leipzig 
  • Frankfurt - Würzburg - Nuremberg - Munich
There is more information on http://www.adac-postbus.de/ (in German).

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Movelo App


movelo is the largest European provider of electric bicycles in tourist regions with 2,500 electric bikes, 400 rental stations in 40 regions in Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain ... There is more information on http://www.movelo.com/de/elektrofahrrad/, in German but translations are available.
In addition, there is a new movelo app for the iPhone and google phones. This holiday guide  has all the answers during a tour with an electric bicycle in a movelo - region. The information displayed is always up to date and tailored directly to your location even outside of Germany and also works well in Austria and Italy. For example, you can find where to borrow movelo pedelecs or download information on the battery charging stations and/or replacement batteries. In addition, this app includes a route planner, so you can always easily plan your desired route and have the Itinerary in mind. Also the nearest  battery exchange station is displayed constantly.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

E-Bike battery charging in Baden-Württemberg

Whether it is a sign of the growing popularity of pedelecs or whether it is a clever marketing campaign I am not sure. The VCD is persuading cafes, hotels and restaurants in the Southwestern German province of Baden-Württemberg to offer free e-bike charging. The VCD is a German club offering the help that motoring clubs offer such as breakdown assistance, but also campaigns for environmentally friendly means of transport, such as cycling, trains and buses. It argues that  cafes and the like need not buy expensive charging equipment, a short row of plug sockets will suffice. Cyclists should bring their own charging leads. The argument is that there is no cheaper way of persuading a cyclist or even a group of cyclists to stop for another half hour and drink another apple juice. The sticker below is available free of charge from VCD offices in Baden-Württemberg. It is interesting that the local energy supplier in the neighbouring province of Rhineland Palatinate is offering a similar service. (See this blog 6 July 2013)


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Are cyclists intelligent?

I have long thought that cyclists are super intelligent. If you have ever tried to follow one of the older signposted German routes you will realise that cyclists need super powers of observation to find ten pence piece sized marker logos or superb powers of deduction to work out which way to cycle at unmarked junctions. Matters have improved over the last few years, I must admit. My faith in our intelligence is however shaken occasionally by idiots who insist on cycle touring wearing heavy walkers' rucksacks, even when their bikes have luggage carriers. I read a book some years ago where the author claimed that pannier or saddle bags were not "cool", neither is a sweaty overloaded back. Recently I have begun to have more doubts about our intelligence after reading an advertisement in the cycling press which suggested that this company's bags were also e-bike compatible. Fortunately nobody has yet to bring out bags built especially for e-bikes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bike Hire in Gothenburg

Gothenburg has a city bike system:

Styr & Ställ 


Styr & Ställ has generated a half million bicycle trips in the city of Gothenburg since its inception in August 2010 . 

You will need a 3 Day Pass or a Gothenburg City Card to use the bicycles. If you only want to use bikes now and again, or you are a visitor to Gothenburg, choose a Three-day Pass.


The first half hour of every ride is always free, regardless of the number of trips per day. You can borrow a bike 46 times in one day, completely free as long as each bike ride does not exceed 30 minutes.

If you would like to borrow a bike for longer than half an hour, find a station, set back the bike and after two minutes, a new bike be can be borrowed. However, if you do not do this, the second half hour costs 10 SEK, the third costs 20 SEK and then it costs 40 SEK per half hour.

Season: 1 March-30 Nov

In other words one use them to get about the city, but they are not intended for use in the countryside. There is more information under http://en.goteborgbikes.se/.

Rent a bike

Cykelkungen

Chalmersgatan 19
411 35 Göteborg
Tel. 031 18 43 00
info@cykelkungen.se
http://www.cykelkungen.se/Uthyrning.html

Opening Times
Mo-Fr. 10.00-18.00
Sa/Su.   Shut


Standard 3 speed lady's bike
Price Adult Children Trailer*
24hour 200 SEK 100 SEK 100 SEK
3 days 400 SEK 200 SEK 200 SEK
1 week 700 SEK 300 SEK 300 SEK



Child seats and helmets for a fee of
50 SEK for all rental periods.

All bikes are equipped with locks and lights

*Cargo trailer or child trailer


Friday, August 23, 2013

Ghost riders and other problems

One of the problems we have as cyclists are other cyclists who break the traffic laws for their own convenience,  e.g. riding through red lights, on pavements and footpaths, on roads when there are adequate cycleways adjacent to the road and riding the wrong way on cycleways. I was horrified to see two cyclists riding around the Viernheim bypass on Sunday morning. There is an excellent, well marked, fast cycleway adjacent to the road and under German law what these two did was illegal and considering that the speed limit on the bypass is 70kph, dangerous and daft. I always feel that some cyclists feel as they are travelling in a non-polluting manner, they are on the moral high ground and can do what they want. These characters do themselves and the rest of us cyclists no good at all. They provide ammunition for the protagonists of the Lycra Lout ideas. They put themselves at risk and when they cycle on a cycleway on the wrong side of the road they put other cyclists at risk.
Geisterfahrer (Ghost Rider) is the German for someone cycles the wrong way along a cycleway. I was pleased to see that ADFC Lübeck has started a campaign to illustrate the dangers of this practice. There is a film on YouTube about the opening demo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjbJFWVUyXk). The film is in German but language is not needed to understand the film. It might be a source of ideas for local groups in other countries. In fact, having cycled round Mannheim on Wednesday afternoon, it would be a good idea in Mannheim too !

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eurobike and trends

The Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel is going to open this year's Eurobike Cycle Exhibition in Friedrichshafen on 28 August. This either highlights the importance of the bicycle industry and cycling in Germany or is an attempt by Frau Dr. Merkel to improve her green credentials, depending on your political leanings. There are national elections shortly in Germany.
The Eurobike exhibition is one of the most important bicycle exhibitions in the world, if not the most important.
As usual the bicycling press has been busy rehashing press releases listing the new products at the show. There is a definite trend towards cycle gear that does not resemble the modern brightly coloured wind and waterproof cycle clothing. It is tweedy or in colours that blend in withe the surroundings. I am not impressed by this trend towards cycling gear that does not look like cycling clothes and costs an arm and a leg. I have no desire to mention names in case I receive a letter from Messrs. Sue, Grabbit and Run. It would appear to be de rigueur to wear clothes off a bike that look as though they were made for cycling. I cannot understand why. OK I can see that it is not the best of taste to go to a funeral wearing skin tight lycra shorts and a maillot jaune, but what is the objection in cycling into work wearing a cyclist's wind- and waterproof jacket, then hanging it up during the day. I left a sports coat at work for several years that I put on when I needed a jacket in meetings. Sorry guys, it is a fashion and I am too old to be bothered with such fripperies.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bicycle rental in Malmö, Sweden


Malmö is a good place to cycle with generous bike lanes and clear signage. You can visit places like football star Zlatan's house, Limhamn's limestone quarry, Turning Torso and the lookout at Öresund Bridge. We were very impressed by the Tourist Office who were very helpful, even though we arrived one minute before closing time.
Some of the Metro stations have bike and ride facilities: These services include lockers to lock up a helmet and clothes, toilet and shower facilities, bicycle pump and service space where the bike can be repaired or washed, and real-time information on trains and buses. Very impressive! (The website is in Swedish but you know how to use Google Translator, don't you?)
The companies listed below are the ones we have found, but there may be others and this list is not a recommendation. Check the bikes before you sign a contract or cycle off.

Hire companies

Stömma 

Norra Vallgatan (the boat sightseeing terminal, near the Central Station)
Hire Charge ca. €20 per day. No children's bicycles. From the photographs the bikes appear to be solidly built city bikes. 
Season April to October.

Cykelkliniken (A Bike Shop)

Tygelsjövägen 155
218 71 Tygelsjö (South of the city centre)
Tel: 040 - 611 66 66
Mobile: 0735 - 34 49 32
http://www.cykelkliniken.se/home/information.php?maincategory=Service&subcategory=Uthyrning (The website is in Swedish, so use Google Translator or the like.)
Children's & adult bikes during the summer season.
Bring identification and deposit (150 SEK).

Rental per day

1 cycle (24 hours): 120 - incl. bike map of the city of Malmö
1 bike trailer (24 hours) 90: -
1 bicycle saddle bag / Day 20: -
1 child seat with a high back / Day 40: -
1 helmet / day 10 -


Rental per week

1 cycle / week 600: - incl. bike map of the city of Malmö
1 bicycle trailer / week 450: -
1 bicycle saddle bag / week 100: -
1 child seat with a high back / week 200: -
helmet / week 50: -

Tricycles
24 "wheel size with two rear wheels and one front wheel. 3 speed with foot and hand brake.
Extra wide sprung saddle.
Rent only weekly / monthly.
690 :-/ week or month in 2150 :-/
NOTE! Limited, book well in advance!

Travelshop AB 

Eurolines Skeppsbron 2 211 20 Malmö info@travelshop.se Telephone: 040 – 330 570 Openimg times: Mo-FR10-18, Sa 10-15, Su 11-17. Next to the Tourist Office opposite the Central Railway Station.



Price half day
Price-day
Price whole week
3-speed bicycle
             120: -
           150: -
              650: -
Tandem
              300: -
           350: -
             1250 -
Bicycle - children nobility incl. helmet
              150: -
           200: -
              850: -
Christiania Cycle
              300: -
           350: -
             1500: -
DSB 7-speed bicycle
              200: -
           250: -
             1100: -
Bianchi 24-speed bicycle
              300: -
           350: -
             1500: -


Saturday, August 10, 2013

De Facto Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Wearing in Germany?

If you cycle in Germany you can choose whether you wear a helmet or not. There is no regulation about helmet wearing while cycling. It is recommended, but not mandatory. In fact less than 20% of German cyclists wear helmets. The minister responsible for road safety indicated in the past that he would prefer this to rise to more than 50%.
A provincial Court of Appeal in the northern province of Schleswig-Holstein recently laid a down a decision in June, that may well put pressure on cyclists to wear a cycle helmet. A cyclist was passing a row of parked cars when the driver of one vehicle opened the door causing the cyclist to fall which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. The cyclist had to spend two months in hospital and spent some time in rehabilitation. The car driver's insurance company refused to pay all of the costs of treatment and the case went to court. The judge ruled that the cyclist should pay 20% of the treatment cost. He argued that a cycle helmet would have added additional protection in this case and since helmets are cheap it is sensible to wear a helmet. This decision was very controversial and the ADFC (German Cycling Club) is supporting the cyclist concerned to take the case to the Federal Supreme Court. If this decision can be quoted as precedent then it could mean a de facto cycle helmet law mandating cyclists to wear helmets. When we know more we will report.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Cycling on the left

The Germans like everybody else in continental Europe drive on the right. In the past as a Brit living in Germany I was subject to a certain amount of banter about why we drive on the left on the island. Reputedly the reason why much of Europe and the USA drives on the wrong side of the road is due to Napoleon. The story goes: Before the French Revolution the peasants in France walked on the left and the gentry rode in carriages on the right. Napoleon ordered his troops to march on the rights, because according to him what was good enough for les aristos was good enough for his lads. The Yanks took this idea over after the War of Independence grateful to the French because they had helped the colonists.
However my gut feeling is that the folk memory harks back to pre-Napoleonic times, especially amongst cyclists. I have noticed that if cyclists meet on cyclepaths they often pass starboard (right) to starboard. Germans walk with their bikes on their righthand side. They stick out into the road when pushing their bikes. This would be a safe option if Germany drove on the left.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Bike Hire in Stockholm


Stockholm has an excellent spread of cycle routes and is a great place to cycle in summmer. The City Bike system also given below seems to me to be complicated and I would rent a bike for a day or so from one of the other two companies given below.

Stockholm City Bikes

Buy a three-day (for 250 SEK) or season pass at the Stockholm Tourist Center or on the web and borrow a bike from 110 sites around the city from April to October for a maximum of three hours before picking up another bike. The three-day pass is also available at many of the hotels around the city. (http://www.citybikes.se/home)

Cykeluthyrningen/Rentabike

Strandvägen
Kajplats 18
114 56 Stockholm

Tel/fax: 08-660 79 59
Mobile: 076-22 676 83

info@rentabike.se

Open: Every day (May - Sept) 10:00 - 18:00  

Citybike - Nishiki Swan 
A low frame and the easily adjustable handlebar. The bike has 7 gears, a handbrake and a back pedal/coaster brake. 

Citybike - Nishiki Hybrid 
This is a city bike with a little more durability on tougher roads. It has 7 gears, a hand brake and a back pedal/coaster  brake. 

Citybike - Monark Nordic Tradition 
A classic city bike with 3 gears, hand brake and a back pedal/coaster  brake. 

Mountainbike - Gary Fisher 
100mm travel suspension fork from Rock Shox and a 24 gear Shimano deore shift system. Hand brakes only. 

Tandembike - Monark 
Our tandems are equipped with 4 gears, double hand brakes and back pedal/coaster brakes.


Day
City    
 240:-
 MTB
280:-
 Tandem
400:-
 Children's
180:-
24 hours
 280:-
 340:-
 500:-
 200:-
2 days
 480:-
 550:-
 750:-
 350:-
3 days
 650:-
 750:-
 1000:-
 500:-
4 days
 800:-
 950:-
 1200:-
 600:-
5 days
 950:-
 1150:-
 1350:-
 700:-
6 days
 1100:-
 1300:-
 1500:-
 800:-
7 days
 1200:-
 1400:-
 1600:-
 900:-
1st hour
 80:-
 100:-
 150:-
 60:-
Per hour
60:-
80:-
100:-
 40:-
Deposit
 3000:-
 3000:-
 3000:-
 3000:-


Prices are in SEK (2013)

Bike Sweden

T: +46(0)8-403 07 520
Narvavägen 13-17
114 57 Stockholm
Open hours:
May-September everyday 10-18
Oktober-April, call to book
http://www.bikesweden.se

A: City Bike
B: Mountain Bike
C: Trekking Bike
D: Children's Bike
E: Follow me
F: Child's seat
G: Trailer
H: Road Bike
I: Electric Bike

Price Group

A

B,C

D,E

F

G

H,I

Duration

3 hours 150 190 80 50 150 190
Whole day 190 240 140 50 190 290
24 hours 240 270 180 80 250 350
2 days 350 430 280 100 350 500
3 days 500 590 380 120 500 700
4 days 575 750 480 140 575 850
5 days 650 860 550 160 650 1000
6 days 725 950 600 180 725 1150
Week 800 990 650 200 800 1250
Extra days 50 90 40 20 50 90
Month 1850 2700 1320 300 1850 2950

Saturday, August 03, 2013

A new cross country cycle route in Germany

Planning cycle routes in and around Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim is complicated, because the area is at the junction of three German provinces: Baden-Württemberg, Hessen and Rheinlandpfalz. I was therefore pleased to read that the Verband Region Rhein Neckar (VRRN - Regional planning organisation) had set up a new cycle route from Lamprecht west of Neustadt an der Weinstraße to Osterburken in the Odenwald through Ludwigshafen, Mannheim and Heidelberg. Its symbol is a yellow square. The route runs for 171km across the region. It is not a new route, but older routes have had additional signposting and have been incorporated in the route.
I was less than pleased to read that although the section east of Mannheim is finished, the western 55km will be finished next year in 2014. It would appear that road signposting is very tightly controlled in Rheinlandpfalz. It does not give one much hope of utilising the Dutch Knooppunt system in Germany. This is a real pity.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cycling in Sweden

We have recently come back from a trip along the Inlandsbanan - Inland Line, a railway line running roughly north south in Sweden. We spent some time in Malmö and Stockholm on our way to Mora and were surprised by the number of bicycles and the excellent bicycle facilities. Why we should have been surprised in the case of Malmö is not clear as it is only a hop, skip and a jump from Copenhagen which has probably the best cycling facilities in the world. Sweden is not a cheap place to visit, but empty spaces and wild life in the north or the greenery of the south coupled with good waymarking mean it is an excellent place to cycle. You can cut costs by using one of the Swedish Youth Hostels which also welcome grey and white heads such as ourselves. The official Swedish Tourist Website is here. This is a country where everybody speaks English. The only Swedish I know is "Hej, do you speak English?".
Cykelfrämjandet, the Swedish Cycling Club has followed the example of the ADFC in Germany and set up a Bed & Bike website. Some parts are in English, but the hotel/hostel/guesthouse descriptions are in Swedish. However this is why you have Google Translator on your computer.
If you are interested in a guided tour then check out www.swedenbybike.com. This website which is mainly in Swedish in August 2013, but a full English version is promised. The idea is you find a tour that looks interesting and then contact the tour operator via the website.
We will discuss bicycle service and hire in a later blog.

.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tour de Flanders: The Flanders Ring

We are gradually uploading all our photographs and books to a cloud based system, just in case we have serious computer problems - the legendary Coca Cola drinking, peanut butter eating puppy comes to mind. We are using a number of different files in our cloud and so have been looking through our old photographs. I have just found the photographs we took on our trip through Belgium or more exactly Flanders in 2003 (www.fietsroute.org/indexuk.php). It was an excellent twelve day trip from Maastricht back to Maastricht with in part superb Knooppunt signposting. I suspect it is all now signposted in this way.
Historically, it was an interesting trip with visits to Waterloo and Ypres. One does get the impression that although Napoleon lost at Waterloo, the locals seem to think he should have won. There is little mention of Wellington. The main monument is the Lion's Mound (or "Lion's Hillock", "Butte du Lion" in French, "Leeuw van Waterloo" in Dutch). It is a large conical artificial hill raised to commemorate the location where the Price of Orange (William II of the Netherlands) was knocked from his horse by a musket ball to the shoulder during the battle. 

It is difficult to get away from WWI in West Belgium. We found the Peace Cycle Tour from war memorial to war grave cemeteries in Ypres very moving and even more so when we returned on a wet November day.

We were surprised to learn there were cyclist regiments who acted as a quick response force along the flooded sections behind Ostend in 1914 and 15.

Farther north on the River Schelde we and many other cyclists made good use of the ferries.
The food was very good. The chocolate was magnificent. The chips (French Fries) were excellent and came in washing up bowls and then the beer, aaah! the beer was wonderful.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Crossing the English Channel

There has been a fair amount of correspondance in the "Guardian" and on cycling forums recently about the decision by Eurostar to reduce the size of the biggest packet allowed as carry-on luggage to a maximum of 85cm. It was formerly 120cm. This makes crossing the Channel with a bike on Eurostar more difficult and more expensive especially for non-Londoners. Check the AtoB website (http://www.atob.org.uk) for details. One way round this is to take a ferry or use the bike shuttle operated by Eurotunnel Le Shuttle who run the vehicle carrying trains under the Channel. If you wish to travel to Paris and then farther by train there is a snag though with both options. SNCF (French Railways) are upgrading many of their long distance trains to TGV standard. Not all TGVs take accompanied bikes. The last bike-carrying TGV leaves Calais Frethun station by the entrance to the Channel Tunnel at 12:32, so if one wants to travel on to Paris take an early ship to Calais. The Eurotunnel option drops one too late in Calais. The DFDS service to Dunkirk is a better bet. The voyage needs to be followed by a 20km ride from the port to Dunkirk station. There is good service of bike carrying trains to Paris from there. The AtoB website reviews all the possibilities of crossing over and under the Channel. We try to keep it as up-to-date as possible.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cargobike hire in Germany

We have written an article for "AtoB" on government sponsored projects to increase the use of human powered and pedelec cargo bikes in inner city deliveries. There were two interesting German projects: "Ich ersetze ein Auto" - "I am replacing a van" aimed at courier and taxi services and VELOTransport aimed at the general public and families.
One of the nuggets of information found on the VELOTransport website was http://www.velogistics.net/en/. This is an interactive map of western Europe showing where cargo-bikes and -trikes can be hired or borrowed. At the time of writing, the majority of hire points seem to be in Germany, but there is one in Bristol.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Ramblers' Holidays are offering trips to the Rhine Valley

I was amazed and amused this morning to get a newsletter from Ramblers' Holidays - the commercial end of the British Ramblers' Association. We have had a number of holidays with the Ramblers. All of them were good. Some were better than others. The newsletter was enclosed with a brochure on cruising and walking which was binned very rapidly. I have no desire to have to pack a penguin suit to eat dinner.
However the newsletter had an article by Martin Hesp, the Senior Features Editor of the Western Morning News about a holiday in Rüdesheim where he praises walking and cycling in the Rhine Gorge. We have been pushing the advantages of holidays in Germany for well over twenty five years: Prices are cheaper than in France. More people speak English. The food comes in large portions, but is very similar to British tastes. The wine is reasonably priced and much underrated in Britain. The beer is wonderful. There are excellent networks of cycle routes, backed up by good public transport.
Thanks Ramblers!
You can get a lot of background information about cycling in Germany by downloading our Cycling in Europe guide. If you get a taste for cycling in the Rhine Valley then check out our
"Following the Rhine gently upstream…" or "Riesling Route" shown on the right. The new version of "Rhine II" should be out by October, if all goes well.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

E-Bike charging points in southern Rhineland Palatinate

Southern Rhineland Palatinate is a good place to cycle with its warm climate, vineyards, quaint villages with their stone built houses, an extensive network of cycle routes and solid rib sticking food. It is quite hilly in parts and so e-bike batteries can drain quite fast. The local electricity utility has stepped in to help the e-biker and installed free charging boards all over its distribution area, marked by the red points on the map below. To help with the orientation: The Rhine runs along the right edge of the map and Wissembourg shown in grey at the bottom is in Alsace, France.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Bicycle lights in Germany

At the moment if use you a bike in Germany at night you need to display lights, white at the front and red at the rear. By law these lights must be dynamo powered. If you use battery powered lights you could receive an on the spot fine of €15 from a policeman. Whether this applies to foreign tourists is not clear. The transport minister Peter Ramsauer wishes to change the law, so that battery powered lamps are legal. Reputedly this should happen this week. The ADFC the German cycling club is against a move to make battery and dynamo powered lights equal under the law, on the grounds that a dynamo is the safest source of power. This change in the law does mean that cheaper bikes in future will probably be sold without dynamos.
6 July 2013 The law has been changed and will come in to effect next year on 1 July 2014. Battery lights will need an indicator to show how much power is left in the battery when in use.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Bicycles on commuter trains in Germany during the rush hour.

Trains in Germany fall into two main groups: subsidised regional trains and non subsidised long distance trains. The majority of trains are run by Deutsche Bahn (DB). The company is required to run the long distance services at a profit. The InterCityExpress long distance trains (ICE), DB's high speed flagships do not take bicycles, apart from bagged folded folders. However we often travel with our bagged Bromptons on ICEs.  Some long distance trains: InterCity (IC/EC) and overnight sleeper trains (CityNightLine - CNL) have reservable bike spaces. A bike ticket costs 9€ per journey, even if you change trains underway. We recommend you to reserve bike slots three months in advance if you are travelling on these trains with a bike, because they are very popular with cyclists.
You can neither reserve seats nor bike slots on regional trains. Sometimes you pay to put your bike on the train. Sometimes it's free to transport a bike on the regional trains. It varies from region to region and which ticket you buy. It is worthwhile trying to avoid travelling on regional (commuter trains) with an accompanied bicycle during weekday rush hours (07:30 - 09:00 and 16:30 - 18:00). There are limits to the number of bicycles allowed on a train. Once this is exceeded you can be asked to leave the train with your bicycle. If the train is very full the conductor may stop you getting on the train with your bicycle. It is no use arguing because the conductor will keep the train in the station and call on the Bundespolizei (Federal Police) to remove you. Just get off the train and wait for the next one. Otherwise the train will be delayed for anything up to an hour . The other passengers on the train will not be happy. The reputation of cyclists will get a black mark and the reputation of your native country will go down the pan as well.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bicycle (Bike, Cycle) Hire (Rental, Renting) in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg like most of northern Germany is fairly flat. It is a university city, so there are a lot of cyclists and cyclepaths. It seems to be well equipped with bike hire shops. We have checked an earlier list and these companies appear to be still operating. The order does not play any role. We can make no recommendations. This is an edited version of an earlier list.

Hamburg City Cycles
Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 89-91
20359 Hamburg
Tel.:  +49-(0)40-74214420
Mobil: +49-(0)176-64330623
Cruiser and city bikes: 13€/day, 55€ a week. City tours offered. 
(These prices updated summer 2016)

Bardowicks Go-Kart-Hof und Fahrradverleih
www.go-kart-hof.de
Vierlande
Neuengammer Hausdeich 101
21039 Hamburg
Tel. (040) 723 38 66
Fax (040) 72 37 06 60
E-Mail: bardowicks@go-kart-hof.de
Tourenräder: 13,00 € pro Tag inklusive Transport, Tourenvorschläge, Karten

Fahrradverleih Altona
www.fahrradverleih-altona.de
Altona
Thadenstraße 90-92
22767 Hamburg
Tel. (040) 4 39 20 12
Fax (040) 430 73 15
Mobil (0171) 6 95 15 15
E-Mail: tom@fahrradverleih-altona.de
Opening times: Mo - Fr 10 - 18 Uhr, Sa 10 - 13 Uhr or by appointment
15 City bikes (7 Gear): 8,50 € per day, 22,50 € per weekend (three days), 51,00 € per week (Rebate from three bikes)

"Hamburg anders erfahren"
Stefan Petersen
Hire only on condition that the bicycles are delivered probably free of charge.
www.hamburg-anders-erfahren.de
Tel. mobil (0178) 640 18 00
Fax (040) 6 40 18 00
E-Mail: petersen@lassraeder.com
Over 200 bicycles;
City, Trekking and Mountain-Bikes: 12,00 € per day; 49,00 € per week; 150,00 € pro month (Minimum charge 40,00 € per order; (06/2013)
Road bikes, Child bicycles, Tandems, etc.: ask about rates or check the home page. The website has an English section, but you will to look at the German to find the prices.
Also: City tours, short bike tours

KOECH 2-Rad Technologie
www.koech2rad.de
Horn
Sievekingsallee 96
20535 Hamburg
Tel. (040) 219 46 34
100 bikes: 9,90 € per day/39€ a week for seven gear ladies trekking bikes with a back pedal brake.
Child bikes, trailers can be ordered, delivery possible

If you don't find what you want above then check the ADFC Hamburg's website. It is likely to be more up to date than our list.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Radsalon Mannheim 2013

For several years now the City of Mannheim in conjunction with the chamber of commerce and the city's marketing agency has organised the Radsalon, an annual cycling festival with an exhibition. This is held in a square in the middle of the main shopping area of the city and attracts not only bike freaks but shoppers out to pick up some new clothes. Last Saturday (22 June 2013) stands included the ADFC - the German cycling club, a secondhand bike sale, a number of local and regional bike shops, bicycle manufacturers, an energy agency, the car sharing club, free bike checks - as part of the Baden-Württemberg provincial campaign to encourage cycling and VELOTransport - a government sponsored project to encourage the use of cargo bikes by families and by small businesses.
I would like to have visited the Riese and Müller stand with its cargo e-bike and electro- and normal versions of these exceedingly clever bikes, but we had very little time to spare. We were on the ADFC stand advising folk about buying cycling helmets, discussing the advantages of membership and giving out our tour programme.
The VELOTransport stand was next door to ours and I did notice the lads on the stand were kept busy with visitors. In a quiet five minutes I had a quick chat with both members of staff and looked at the five or six cargo bikes and trikes on the stand. The VELOTransport project is designed both to demonstrate the usefulness of cargo bikes to young families aiming to dump the car or small businesses who need to move small amounts of stuff in city centres where car parking is expensive and restricted. The stand offered hands-on experience of these bikes. The group had cleverly visited a wide range of events over the last year including the biannual German Protestant Church annual meeting, an Ideal Home exhibition and a caravan show, so did not restrict themselves to cycle exhibitions. As a back up the project offers a well thought out and extensive database of bikes, trikes and equipment for cargo carrying available in Germany (http://www.velotransport.de/). The website is in German unfortunately, but a lot of the links are to English language websites and if not there is always Google Translator.
The highlight of the Radsalon is a mass ride around Mannheim and Ludwigshafen, across the Rhine in  Rhineland Palatinate. This year over 650 riders on all sorts of bikes and trikes took place. The trip across the Rhine was cancelled because of a major fire in Ludwigshafen harbour.
Before the Ride
The smoke from the fire was visible from Mannheim


Saturday, June 22, 2013

A new source of campsites?

If like us you prefer quiet small campgrounds, it's worthwhile casting an eye on www.campinmygarden.com. The website aims to link house and garden owners with campers seeking a micro camp site. At the moment only the UK in Europe is well covered, but give the site time.

Blog Archive